A closer review of changes to Rusumo hydropower project

A closer review of changes to Rusumo hydropower project
A closer review of changes to Rusumo hydropower project

Africa-PressRwanda. A redesign could see at least 5MW added to the Regional Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Project which initially had a target of 80MW, according to Claver Gatete, The Minister of infrastructure in Rwanda who is also chairing council of ministers in charge of energy in Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi to benefit from the project.

The ministers met during the weekend to assess the progress of the over $340 million project implementation. The overall project implementation status is at 81.9 per cent as of September with the targeted first power to be connected to residents for test purposes is slated for December this year.

While contractors say it could take between three and four months for this target accomplishment, ministers continue to push for the completion. According to an Auditor General joint report from Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi, the deadline for the first phase completion might not be met.

However, on Saturday October 9 during the 13rd council of ministers, Gatete insisted, “We have proposed that the first phase be complete by December despite the Covid-19 pandemic that affected construction activities.”

He said that Covid-19 has affected the importation process especially for the construction materials needed to the part of powerhouse downstream walls.

“We have been importing construction materials from Europe, China, America and elsewhere. This is because shipment has been delaying. The arrival of experts from Europe and China was also affected by the pandemic,” he said.

The construction materials are on the way coming. We are going to assess if there is time that was lost so that we catch up so that construction of first phase be complete by December and then start testing at the same time, he noted.

He said that through the redesigning there are some new features to be added to the project implementation including adding more five Megawatts. He explained that this is because out of the initial budget, there will be an excess.

New system to sell power from one country to another

Gatate said: “There are additional works at the switch yard are being added to introduce a system that will help us to sell power to one another among the three countries. This system was not planned before but we added it as we expect there will remainder budget.”

He said the three ministers in charge of energy in the countries have also pledged to meet every month before December to take stock of construction progress while they used to meet twice a year. The main constructions of the power plant are located at Rusumo border between Rwanda andTanzania. Switchyard is located on Rwanda side.

The project is being implemented under Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) which is mandated to facilitate jointly agreed transformative regional trans-boundary cooperative projects or in-country projects with regional impact related to the common use of the Nile Basin water resources.

The plant is expected to add about 26.6MW to each of the beneficiary States. There will be transmission lines for electricity, within 94km from Rusumo to Nyakanazi (Tanzania), 161km to Rwanda, and 194km to Burundi. The project will also supply electricity to Bugesera International Airport.

On Rwandan side, the project again includes rehabilitation of 30 Km of feeder roads in Kirehe District, construction of 28.7 Km of roads in Ngoma District, water pipeline for supplying 10,500 people in Gatonde-Gahima cells, 33 km Gituku-Murama water supply system, construction of 9.54 km of Kigabiro-Rurenge-Gatore feeder road and others


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